Sustainable, hedonic and efficient: interaction effects between product properties and consumer reviews on post experience responses

Marie-Cecile Cervellon, Lindsey I. Carey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose
This paper aims to investigate the influence of consumer reviews on the evaluation, post-experience, of products with a combination of sustainable, hedonic and utilitarian properties.

Design/methodology/approach In the first instance, consumer reviews for organic and non-organic cosmetics posted on the French Web site beauté-test.com were analyzed. Second, a full-factorial two product types (organic and non-organic) × three reviews (positive, negative and no reviews) experiment was conducted. Sixty French women tested a beauty product and evaluated it on hedonic and utilitarian (ambiguous and non-ambiguous) properties. In a second experiment, 132 English-speaking students evaluated an herbal tea at home, along a full-factorial two product types (fair-trade and non-fair-trade) × three product properties (hedonic, utilitarian ambiguous and utilitarian non-ambiguous) × two reviews (negative review and no review) between-subject design.

Findings
First, consumers are significantly less influenced by reviews for hedonic products compared to utilitarian products. In particular, they rely on reviews when evaluating utilitarian ambiguous properties (e.g. anti-aging properties) which they find difficult to judge on their own. Second, consumers are more resistant to the persuasive effect of reviews when the product focus is on sustainable (organic or fair-trade) credentials, in particular when judging ambiguous properties.

Originality/value
This paper explores a topic neglected in the literature so far: the moderating role of product properties and sustainability, in particular, on consumers’ responses to persuasion and consumer reviews in the context of this paper. Its originality lies in the demonstration that consumers learn through product testing for hedonic and utilitarian unambiguous product properties and through consumer reviews for utilitarian ambiguous product properties. Additionally, it highlights the resistance of sustainable products (organic and fair-trade in this research) to negative product reviews.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1375-1394
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Volume48
Issue number7/8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2014

Keywords

  • fair trade
  • sustainable construction
  • organic products
  • consumer reviews
  • cosmetics

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